Practical Proverbial, from Jonah, 24 March 2021 Today’s topic: The Sopranos in Ninevah

When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.  Jonah 3:6 (NIV).

If you’ve ever read the book of Job, today’s verse sounds very Job-like.   Going further back in the Bible, it’s what Mordecai did (in the book of Esther).   Sackcloth and ashes.   We talked about that last time, how putting on sackcloth and sitting in ashes was a way to humble one’s self before God.   It was debasing, humiliating; the ultimate symbol of public repentance.  Here’s the kicker:   God didn’t need it.   We did.

We still do.   Yesterday, I started watching “The Soprano’s” again.   You know the show:   late 90s, early 2000s show about a New Jersey mobster and his struggles.   Tony Soprano is an anti-hero, a criminal we despise but love to watch.  I watched the show when it was on, and I’ve decided to binge it again.

In the first episode, Tony is in his therapist’s office.   His doctor has prescribed therapy which, especially for a mafia don, is both difficult and vocationally dangerous, which is why he does it.  Eventually, he makes a connection with what is making him miserable, resolving to meditate on the issue in hopes of being a better man.   At one point, he even visits a church built by his grandfather, marveling at the work and life of faith such a man had.

It would have been a great time for him to put on sackcloth and sprinkle ashes on his head.   Because the show is about the Mafia, of course that didn’t happen. 

But, if you think about it, the king of Ninevah was Tony Soprano.   He ruled the most wicked city in the world, and he had been personally accused of that wickedness by God’s personal messenger.   Bad dude; he had the power to whack whoever he wanted.  Did he go Tony Soprano and miss the moment?  You decide:  the unknown king of Ninevah repented.   He put on sackcloth and sat in ashes and mourned the things he had done, the life he had led.   He submitted to God and begged for God’s mercy.

Our world is wicked, too.   We’re the king of Ninevah; I’m Tony Soprano, and so are you.   Maybe we don’t have men killed for money, but we each cherish our own little evils.   We are sinful through and through.   You and me, we should wear sackcloth for awhile and pray in ash for mercy.   The beautiful thing is that Jesus wore the sackcloth on our behalf and fired our sins to ash.  Jesus went all Job before he took on north Jersey.  We need that more than ever.

For further reading:  Esther 4:1-3, Job 2:8 & 13, Ezekiel 27:30-31, Jonah 3:7

Lord God, I clothe my heart in sackcloth because I’ve sinned against You.   Forgive me.

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Published by aspiringwriterdt

It's about God...it's about the life He gives us...it's about going day by day...it's about you. It's not about me.

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